This week at I Heart Cook Clubs we are having one of our monthly Pot Lucks, and of course we continue to cook with Giada de Laurentiis. What to contribute was a real "no brainer" for me - it's spring here in New Zealand, so it just had to be asparagus in some form or another (which you already know is my most favourite vegetable), and for a quick mid-week meal this salad really appealed. This was truly the work of moments, and utterly delicious. My only disappointment was my melon, which was a little under-ripe and a bit lacking in flavour, which was to be expected really as it is still a bit early in the season for melon. This is a little sad, as the flavour combination of the asparagus with rock melon (you might call it honeydew where you live) is great, and I can imagine that with a beautifully ripe, juicy, fragrant melon this would be divine. I'm definitely going to try this again in December when we will still have a bit of asparagus around, but will hopefully have better rock melon about as well ... "asparagus Gods" willing this would be a great addition to a southern hemisphere Christmas meal.
You don't need to be precise about quantities for this. I'm going to give you the quantities I used to make a meal for one person, and of course you could increase any of the quantities to make it a meal for more, or maybe you could serve this as part of a buffet or multi-course meal. (You can find the original recipe here.)
Grilled Asparagus & Rock Melon Salad
Adapted from a recipe by
For vegetarian option omit prosciutto/bacon
6-8 asparagus stalks
olive oil for grilling
2 slices prosciutto (or bacon)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
flaky sea salt & freshly ground pepper
rock melon, peeled, de-seeded, & cubed
mozzarella or bocconcini, cubed
(I used homemade mizithra, post to follow)
toasted pine nuts
(I used roasted hazelnuts)
Preheat oven to 175 degrees C (350 degrees F). At the same time set a grill pan over high heat.
Place slices of prosciutto or bacon on a baking pan in a single layer, and bake in the preheated oven until crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels.
Place the asparagus spears on the preheated grill, drizzle with a little olive oil, tossing to coat, and sprinkle over some flaky sea salt & pepper. Grill for a few minutes, turning from time to time, until tender, but still a little crispy. Remove from grill and arrange on a platter.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix the lemon juice with the extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, and whisk until well combined. Add the melon and the mozzarella to the bowl, and toss until everything is well coated with the dressing.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the melon and mozzarella and arrange on top of the asparagus. Crumble the crispy prosciutto or bacon and nuts over the top, and drizzle any remaining dressing over the top.
Interested in getting to know Giada a bit better? Then do go and visit my friends at I Heart Cooking Clubs and see what they've all been cooking up ....
.... or check out Giada's Kitchen and many of her other titles, available from Amazon, Book Depository UK and Fishpond NZ